Recently, nursing home facilities throughout the state of New Jersey received a letter from the NJ Department of Health clarifying the State’s position regarding generator requirements.
This notification highlighted two main points; annunciators and load testing regulations, areas that we, as a generator service provider, have fielded the most inquiries about over the past year. Therefore, in an effort to provide some feedback from our perspective, here is a brief summary of the main points.
- Healthcare facilities with no life support capabilities that have an existing generator are required to have an annunciator that is in accordance with their generators capabilities in an area that is manned 24/7.
- The annunciator only needs to output the signals that the generator is currently capable of providing.
- There is no need to update or retrofit to meet NFPA 99 2012 edition 22.214.171.124.17.
- Healthcare facilities WITH life support capabilities that have an existing generator are required to have an annunciator panel that is in accordance with NFPA 99 2012 edition 126.96.36.199.17.
- If your generator only outputs some of the required signals updates/retrofits are required to bring unit to code.
- Wireless remote monitoring is NOT a remote annunciator, remote annunciators are hard wired.
- Existing generators manned 24/7: If the generator control panel is in a manned 24/7 location, there are no additional requirements for an annunciator panel. If someone is with the generator 24/7 an annunciator panel is not needed or required.
- Previously installed annunciators: If an annunciator system was already installed prior to these new regulations and does not now meet code compliance, it shall be permitted to be continued in use, unless the authority having jurisdiction (i.e. local municipal inspection code office) has determined that such use constitutes a distinct hazard to life. At such time, upgrades may be needed to meet specifications and/or recommendations.
- New Construction/New Installations: New facilities with new generators or old facilities with new generator installations are required to meet the requirements as stated in NFPA 99 2012 edition 188.8.131.52.17
In the end, having proper annunciation comes down to whether or not your facility has life support capability or not. If it does, then full compliance with NFPA 99 2012 provisions are required. And it is up to each nursing home facility and their administrators to understand these requirements in full.
Generator Load Testing
- A transfer test must be conducted if maintenance or repair is conducted on the emergency power supply system (generator, transfer switch etc.) and must be a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Diesel generators require the monthly load test to operate at a minimum of 30% of the generator’s total kW output rating. Be advised that building load my not be enough to reach this. P3 Generator Services has the ability to conduct a test to see if it does.
- If a diesel generator does not reach 30% of its output kW rating, a load bank is required to ensure the generator is operating as designed. The NJDOH document does not specify how often you need this “additional step”.
- Natural gas generators do not have a minimum requirement for the monthly load test – a load bank is not required on natural gas generators if the unit does not hit 30% of its rated capability.
- SPECIAL NOTE: While load banks on natural gas generators are not required by these regulations, P3 Generator Services recommends them on ALL generators to ensure they are performing to their manufactured kW specifications.
For more information on annunciators, load testing, and load banks, please contact P3 Generator Services.
P3 Generator Services
7 Edge Road
Alpha New Jersey 08865